Multiple pro sports leagues have already welcomed eSports with open arms, but what about the NHL? Where's the official hockey tournament? Don't worry, it's almost here. The league is launching the NHL Gaming World Championship, a global tourney that pits players against each other in the PS4 and Xbox One versions of EA's NHL 18. Register and you can compete in qualifiers that start March 24th, with the top eight players from each region competing in-person at events throughout May. The championship proper takes place at Esports Arena Las Vegas on June 19th, and the winner will take home "their share" of $100,000.
The regional competitions will stream live on Twitch and broadcast on national TV networks. Viasat will air the European event on May 6th, while Rogers' Sportsnet will broadcast the Canadian event on May 11th; Americans have to wait until May 20th for their regional final, which will broadcast on NBCSN.
The relatively free-form structure of the Gaming World Championship contrasts sharply with parallel eSports organizations like the NBA 2K League, which revolve around teams of dedicated players. Nonetheless, the goal is the same -- the NHL wants to have an official presence both to profit from the rise of eSports and to foster interest in real-world games.